As we have all come to know, the NBA is officially a 12-month league. Media coverage of “the Association” has completely dominated the NFL and MLB the summer thanks to LeBron James, this guy pictured below, and most importantly – the NBA Summer League.
The NBA Summer League is heaven on Earth for basketball junkies like myself. For the first time ever, all 30 franchises competed in this year’s Las Vegas tournament. We’ve had the opportunity to watch last month’s lottery picks, our favorite college team’s former stars, and loads of NBA journeymen fight for that last roster spot on an NBA team.
The best of that batch is watching the lottery picks, and as expected, a handful of them made the Las Vegas Summer League’s All-Star teams.
Let’s dive in Trey Songz style.
Wendell Carter Jr. (CHI) – 14.6 PPG, 55% FG%, 9.4 RPG, 2.6 BPG
Josh Hart (LAL) – 22.4 PPG, 45% FG%, 4.7 RPG, 2.3 APG
Kevin Knox (NYK) – 21.3 PPG, 35% FG%, 6.5 RPG, 2.3 APG
Collin Sexton (CLE) – 19.6 PPG, 43% FG%, 3.6 RPG, 3.4 APG
Christian Wood (MIL) – 20.4 PPG, 55% FG%, 10.8 RPG, 2.8 BPG
Headlining the first team is the Summer League MVP Josh Hart. Hart has been BALLING on these rooks en route to leading the Lakers to a second straight title appearance. After his showing he should receive a serious bump in minutes from Luke Walton.
Joining Hart on the first team is Bulls future center Wendell Carter Jr., who should slot in nicely next to Lauri Markannen next season. Coming as a surprise to many, Carter Jr. was arguably the best big man in Vegas this summer. The Bulls tanking regimen may show results sooner rather than later.
Knicks lotto pick Kevin Knox came into Vegas with a chip on his shoulder after being booed by Knicks fans at the draft. He could very well become the best wing player in this draft class. Christian Wood is a live-wired hybrid big who will almost certainly land a 2-way contract from a team needing frontcourt depth.
Last but not least is former Bama point guard Collin Sexton. The Young Bull put on a show throughout the whole tourney. The intensity and confidence he plays with on both ends of the floor make him look like a serious threat to win rookie of the year next season.
DeAndre Ayton (PHX) – 14.5 PPG, 60% FG%, 10.5 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Wade Baldwin IV (POR) – 13.4 PPG, 45% FG%, 4.0 RPG, 7.4 APG
Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) – 11.2 PPG, 41% FG%, 8.2 RPG, 3.8 BPG
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (LAL) – 17.7 PPG, 51% FG%, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG
Trae Young (ATL) – 17.0 PPG, 38% FG%, 6.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG
The Summer League second team has three top-5 picks on it in Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, and number-1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton. Ayton was not asked to do much offensively, however, he still made an impact on that side of the floor.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and the “Ukrainemaker” – thanks Mark Titus – Svi Mykhailiuk lit it up from behind the arc. Svi dropped 31 against Cleveland in the Lakers semifinal matchup against Cleveland, while Jaren Jackson Jr. hit 8 trey bombs in his very first NBA game. Jackson Jr. could quickly blossom into a star playing alongside Marc Gasol on a playoff hungry Grizzlies squad.
Rounding the second team out is former Grizzlies top-20 pick Wade Baldwin IV. After a rocky start in the NBA, Baldwin IV is trying to carve out a spot in the Blazers rotation. Unless he’s waived in the next hour, his contract will be guaranteed by Portland next season.
And of course, we can’t leave out Trae Young. The NCAA’s leading scorer a season ago couldn’t *fill in cliche about not being able to shoot a basketball* for the first few games of the summer. He eventually figured it out, dropping seven 3s in a game against the Bulls and taking over with his court vision in his final showing against the Indiana Pacers.
Will the stars of the summer turn into full-fledged NBA stars? Only time will tell.
If you have yet to tune in to the NBA Summer League, I highly, highly recommend it. The atmosphere is electric, the stars always come out, and we always get to see the future stars of the NBA.